CD Review of Citation by Scott Miller and the Commonwealth

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starstarstarstarno star Label: Sugarhill
Released: 2006
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Like the titular vehicle, Scott Miller's latest may not win many awards for beauty, but it gets the job done – in fact, you may very well find yourself checking the odometer at some point and realizing it's racked up more listens than you'd ever thought possible.

Enough with the stupid metaphors. Citation is a helluva rock record, full of spit and swagger, but not afraid to show its tender side; in short, it's exactly the type of album Miller has been threatening to make since cutting out from the V-Roys a few years back. Earlier outings weren't always fleshed out as well as they should have been; though Miller always got a few good shots in – "Loving That Girl," from 2001's Thus Always to Tyrants, is a good example – he was also prone to a fair amount of drift.

Citation, in contrast, doesn't mess around, not even a little bit. It helps that his band, the Commonwealth, has grown into one of the smartest and most empathetic roots-rock outfits on today's market; it also helps that a certain Mister James Luther Dickinson sat behind the boards while the album was recorded. Mostly, though, this is just a fine, fine set of songs.

Everything you're looking for in a modern-day rock record is here, really – from the tear-squeezing beauty of "Freedom's a Stranger" to the rollicking wink-and-a-grin of "Jody" to the bone-chillingly stark "Long Goodnight." Think electric Neil Young, with actual singing (and come to think of it, Miller covers Young's "Hawks and Doves" here); think Ryan Adams, without the hipster bullshit. Most of all, look forward to hearing what will most likely wind up being one of the best rock albums of the year.

~Jeff Giles